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Ars Poetica
Ars Poetica
by Archibald MacLeish

Ars Poetica Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Free Verse With CoupletsYes, it looks mighty concise with only three sections divided into four couplets for each stanza. And since most of the couplets are in perfect rhyme, we might feel compelle...

Speaker

Our speaker definitely sounds a bit otherworldly with his metaphysical vibe and unusual imagery. We can't really say much about the speaker as a person because his voice sounds deliberately imperso...

Setting

Where are we in "Ars Poetica"? Who knows? Suffice it to say we're in a metaphysical world of poetry, art, and the quintessential essence of what it means to "be" rather than mean. But don't get too...

Sound Check

"Ars Poetica" spares no expense when it comes to blending the more classical conventions of poetry with the more modern. In the beginning it sounds mighty conventional with perfect couplets and poi...

What's Up With the Title?

We know MacLeish was responding to Horace's "Ars Poetica", written in the first century A.D. So the title we get here isn't exactly original, kind of like the countless remakes and remixes of songs...

Calling Card

A Bit of the Old, A Bit of the NewIf you come across another MacLeish poem, chances are you'll feel as if you've got both feet in two separate worlds of old and new. Our man did a lot of his best w...

Tough-o-Meter

(7) Snow Line When poets talk about poetry, you know we can't expect a leisurely walk in the park. When you've got a poet like MacLeish who's known to rely on images rather than explanations, thing...

Trivia

MacLeish was chummy with Franklin D. Roosevelt and was considered the "poet laureate of the New Deal." (Source.) MacLeish was also our ninth Librarian of Congress, from 1939-1944. (Source.)Would yo...

Steaminess Rating

GPoetry can be sexy, but not in "Ars Poetica." We get to climb a moon instead.

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